“The Massachusetts Legislature has approved a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote,” reports the Boston Globe. The bill would award all 12 of the Bay State’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote and is part of a larger National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The goal is to persuade enough states to enact similar legislation to reach 270 electoral votes, ensuring that the winner of the popular vote also wins the Electoral College vote. Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington — all blue states — have already approved the legislation. No doubt the main reason for this effort is lingering bitterness over the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, but won the Electoral College, and thus, the presidency.
However, the law would take effect only when enough states have signed on — and assuming a future legislature doesn’t change the rules again. Indeed, as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto, in an outstanding analysis of the constitutionality and political feasibility of the law, writes, “Since the NPVIC would be legally unenforceable, only political pressure could be brought to bear to ensure that state legislatures stand by their commitments to it. Would this be enough? Let’s put the question in starkly partisan terms: If you’re a Republican, do you trust Massachusetts lawmakers to keep their word, and to defy the will of the voters who elected them, if by doing so they would make Sarah Palin president?”